Tom McAteer’s THE EASTER BUNNY… Finding Monsters in the Mirror’s Reflection

By Ernest Kearney The Easter Bunny, which was a part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival this year, is a self-described live stream “urban horror story” by Canada’s Marbles Theatre Group. It was the third virtual show that I had sat through in one evening. The first was a dance performance initially filmed before a live audience. It was not theatre, to me, as much as a competently-executed, a competently executed well-structured YouTube video.

The next Virtual Performance was a remarkably ambitious undertaking, stuffed with song and costume changes, all haloed by a stunningly elaborate light design that enhanced the show in incalculable ways. It was an amazing achievement, but it still felt, to me, like a very well-done short film homage to Bob Fosse.

The Easter Bunny was the last of the three.

The setting was described as the bathroom in a basement apartment of a major urban center. But it didn’t look anything like an apartment, and certainly not a basement.

Nor was there the slightest attempt to convey bathroom, no towel rack, soap dish, nada. It was as if, in constructing this urban bathroom, the contractor cut some corners by not including a sink or shower. Or bath. Or toilet. In fact, the set looks like it occupied a small corner of a small church stage. A shabby chair, cheap room divider and fake plant, which comprised the set, were undoubtedly discovered in whatever attic or vacant room the church kept its crap in.

Live streamed from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Easter Bunny doesn’t show the least awareness of the fundamentals of filmmaking, which the two prior shows shared.

Director Mario D’Alimonte puts his camera down at a height nearly even with the stage level, and then frames his shot extending to include the shabby chair to fake plant and everything in-between.

Here D’Alimonte leaves it for the entire piece.

Let me assure you, I was gearing up to loath this one on principle.

But then there was Tom McAteer casually tiding-up the ridiculously inadequate set it seemed.

But nothing is what it seems.

McAteer, who also wrote the piece, opens up a window for his audience, one they would probably rather have nailed down closed, boarded over by planks and with the curtains sewn tightly shut. McAteer is a serial rapist and perhaps murderer, waiting in the apartment of the next victim he’s been stalking.

McAteer is not the hulking beast people tend to associate with such horrendous and vile crimes. In fact, that is one of the issues he touches on as he keeps track of the time and meticulously checks and rechecks his “tools of the trade.”

People want to believe only monsters are capable of monstrous deeds, but that is not the case. As Eric Hoffer correctly observed, “What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people’s faces as unfinished as their minds.”

There are no pandering fantasies of sadistic sexuality in McAteer’s show, no nudity or violence, no account of physical brutality, not even an uncolored term that would have brought the blush to your maiden aunt’s cheek.

It is just the flowing stream of consciousness of a man very determined to do his job well, even if he is unsure of what drives him to do this “work.” And that, in and of itself, was terrifying

Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolution

It is interesting, that this production, for all its aforementioned failings, was the one which felt the most theatrical in experience to me. Perhaps because of the three I attended that day it was the only one that dealt with large questions, or perhaps it was because it demanded the most imagination on my part with which to engage.

But whatever the reason, McAteer’s show was for me, one of the most fulfilling of all the Fringe’s offerings.



The Easter Bunny

is an official Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021 Encore Producer Award Winner!!

Saturday September 11 2021, 6:00 PM | 55 mins
Pacific Time (US & Canada) virtual performance

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For Show Updates and Information Go To:

Hollywood Fringe Festival

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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